Reasoning about a hidden object after a delay: Evidence for robust representations in 5-month-old infants

Yuyan Luo, Renée Baillargeon, Laura Brueckner, Yuko Munakata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present research examined two alternative interpretations of violation-of-expectation findings that young infants can represent hidden objects. One interpretation is that, when watching an event in which an object becomes hidden behind another object, infants form a prediction about the event's outcome while both objects are still visible, and then check whether this prediction was accurate. The other interpretation is that infants' initial representations of hidden objects are weak and short-lived and as such sufficient for success in most violation-of-expectation tasks (as objects are typically hidden for only a few seconds at a time), but not more challenging tasks. Five-month-old infants succeeded in reasoning about the interaction of a visible and a hidden object even though (1) the two objects were never simultaneously visible, and (2) a 3- or 4-min delay preceded the test trials. These results provide evidence for robust representations of hidden objects in young infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)B23-B32
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003


  • Infant cognition
  • Memory
  • Object permanence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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